“Olympus Has Fallen” was directed by Antoine Fuqua who also directed films like “Training Day”, “Bait”, “Shooter” & “King Arthur”. The film stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Rick Yune, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Ashley Judd & Dylan McDermott. This is the first film in the “Fallen” trilogy.
Mike Banning (Butler) is a former US Army Ranger turn US Secret Service agent and is the head of the President’s security detail. While attending a fundraiser on a snowy night at Camp David, President Ben Asher (Eckhart) and the First Lady, Margret (Judd) are involved in car accident. Their car is hanging over a bridge as Banning does everything he can to save them but unfortunately only saves the President while the First Lady falls over. 18 months later, Banning has been released and works for the Treasury Department. The President meets with the South Korean Prime Minister. During the meeting, the White House is attacked by an AC-130 from the air and then a large group of North Korean terrorists attack the grounds. Within 15 minutes, secret service agent Roma (Hauser) informs Secret Service Director, Lynn Jacobs (Bassett) and the Speaker of the House Allan Turnbull (Freeman) that “Olympus Has Fallen”. The terrorists are led by Kang Yeosank (Yune), a wanted man from multiple agency all over the world. After taking the White House, Kang kills the Korean Prime Minister and is holding the President, Vice President, Secretary of Defense and others hostage, demanding that the US remove all their forces out of Korea. With time running out and Kang always one step ahead, the world watch in horror as the nation’s capital has fallen. As officials try to mount an counter attack, Banning has managed to get inside and work his way through the House. In this time of crisis, Banning must outsmart Kang and prevent him from starting World War 3.
This was a gritty and dark action film. Good stuff. Gerard Butler gives a damn good performance along with Eckhart & Freeman. Rick Yune has played many villains in the past like in “The Fast & The Furious”, “Ninja Assassin” & “Die Another Day” but this arguably his darkest and best. The plot and storyline are very cliche but with this direction and cast, it nails the wrong man wrong place storyline. It definitely has a lot call backs to “Die Hard” but never rips off that movie. Some of the visuals are a bit dated and unrealistic but don’t take anything away from the movie’s entertaining qualities. This film is also an exact mirror image of another film, “White House Down”, which came out in the same year and has the same plot. Personally, this film was better being more of action film while the other was more of a action comedy.
After the success of this film, a sequel was announced. In 2016, “London Has Fallen” was released and saw Butler, Eckhart, Freeman & Bassett return to their respected roles and follows almost the exact same storyline just in a different setting and different bad guy motivations. In 2019, “Angel Has Fallen” came out, this time only Butler & Freeman would return. That film follows a framed Banning trying uncover the truth after an attempt on the U.S. president’s life. The first still remains the best film in the series.